The future president joined the Guard in May 1968. Almost immediately, he began an extended period of training. Six weeks of basic training. Fifty-three weeks of flight training. Twenty-one weeks of fighter-interceptor training.
That was 80 weeks to begin with, and there were other training periods thrown in as well. It was full-time work. By the time it was over, Bush had served nearly two years.
Not two years of weekends. Two years.
After training, Bush kept flying, racking up hundreds of hours in F-102 jets. As he did, he accumulated points toward his National Guard service requirements. At the time, guardsmen were required to accumulate a minimum of 50 points to meet their yearly obligation.
So how did his service turn out?
Then, at his request, he was given permission to go. Bush received an honorable discharge after serving five years, four months and five days of his original six-year commitment. By that time, however, he had accumulated enough points in each year to cover six years of service.
During his service, Bush received high marks as a pilot.
A 1970 evaluation said Bush clearly stands out as a top notch fighter interceptor pilot and was a natural leader whom his contemporaries look to for leadership.
A 1971 evaluation called Bush an exceptionally fine young officer and pilot who continually flies intercept missions with the unit to increase his proficiency even further. And a 1972 evaluation called Bush an exceptional fighter interceptor pilot and officer.
When I was in infantry basic training at Fort Benning in the Summer of 1992 the drill sergeants would mockingly call the guys going into the National Guard a bunch of "No Go's." As if they were somehow inferior to the guys going into the active and reserve components of the army.
I wouldn't call President Bush a "No Go."
I wouldn't call Michael Moore or any of the other perpetrator of the AWOL story a No Go either, that would be an undeserved compliment.